Friday, June 30, 2006

Viral Spam: The Tick Removal E-mail

Dear xxxxxxx,

My mom forwarded me this e-mail that you sent her about the "tick removal" secret. I actually got a tick earlier this week while picking strawberries. It was my first one ever and totally creepy! Ick.

This e-mail is actually something called "viral spam." It won't infect your computer with a virus. It spreads, instead, the way human viruses do--contact with others and risky behavior.
It relies on humans to forward it in order to repopulate itself and fill up inboxes everywhere.

And, in this case, it is spreading medical information that could actually do harm. The truth is, this method isn't safe and doesn't work. Aggravating or attempting to suffocate a tick ususally causes regurgitation of the stomach contents into the victim's blood, which is the fastest way to get Lyme Disease.

This link gives you the details:

E-mails like this are almost always spam. The big clues are enthusiastic helping from a stranger. They usually also have lots of exclamation points and grammatical or spelling errors. If you suspect an e-mail is false, you can check by googling the keywords or by going to a site like this one:

You should send an e-mail to anyone you forwarded this to and let them know not to forward it on, and not to try suffocating ticks with liquid soap.

I hope you both are well. I won't be home for the Fourth, but I'm sending my love.

Subject: Ticks > > This is good to remember for anyone who frequents the outdoors, also for> your children and those with grandchildren. A School Nurse has written the> info below -- good enough to share -- > > I had a pediatrician tell me what she believes is the best way to remove a> tick. This is great , because it works in those places where it's sometimes> difficult to get to with tweezers: between toes, in the middle of a head> full of dark hair, etc. Apply a glob of liquid soap to a cotton ball. Cover> the tick with the soap-soaked cotton ball and swab it for a few seconds> (15-20), the tick will come out on it's own and be stuck to the cotton ball> when you lift it away. This technique has worked every time I've used it> (and in KY, that was frequently), and it's much less traumatic for the> patient and easier for me. Unless someone is allergic to soap, I can't see> that this would be damaging in any way. I even had my doctor's wife call me> for advice because she had one stuck to her back and she couldn't reach it> with tweezers. She used this method and immediately called me back to say,> "It worked!" > >


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